Next installment of "Learning about Social Media from Your Desk"
The third reason in public relations to monitor blogs is to know what online conversations are related to your industry or company. In media relations, you probably report media coverage and group it by the event or whatever that started a set of coverage. But it pretty much stops there.
In this new world of social media, the number of blog posts is pretty trivial. It’s all about the conversation.
So when you are monitoring by post and tag searches and find relevant results, don’t think of them as a stream of unconnected mentions. Keep an eye on things like: the volume and content of comments, the links included in the post and the trackbacks (inbound links), and blog posts that mention other related blog posts. Go and track those links. Notice the direction of each conversation.
Then, you’ll need to decide when and how to join in the conversation. You can add comments to blog posts of the more influential bloggers. But do so judiciously. Do not try to sell something (even an idea). Be open about who you represent (this is really, really, really important). Express gratitude. Offer information. Gently provide corrections to errors.
Joining the conversation is important, but as a public relations professional, you have a special responsibility in how you go about it.